FS suspends prescribed burning


Last updated 5/24/2022 at Noon

Foresters have conducted several prescribed burning operations south of Sisters this spring as part of ongoing efforts to reduce fuels and restore forest health. That program is now on hold.

On May 20, Forest Service chief Randy Moore announced a 90-day suspension of all prescribed burning on National Forest lands, including on the Deschutes National Forest.

In a statement, Moore wrote: “[B]ecause of the current extreme wildfire risk conditions in the field, I am initiating a pause on prescribed fire operations on National Forest System lands while we conduct a 90-day review of protocols, decision support tools, and practices ahead of planned operations this fall.

“Our primary goal in engaging prescribed fires and wildfires is to ensure the safety of the communities involved. Our employees who are engaging in prescribed fire operations are part of these communities across the nation. The communities we serve, and our employees, deserve the very best tools and science supporting them as we continue to navigate toward reducing the risk of severe wildfires in the future….

“The review I am announcing today will task representatives from across the wildland fire and research community with conducting the national review and evaluating the prescribed fire program, from the best available science to on-the-ground implementation. Lessons learned and any resulting program improvements will be in place prior to resuming prescribed burning.”

Conditions in Sisters have been favorable in recent weeks for prescribed burns, and operations were planned for this week. Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid told The Nugget the District had 300-400 acres of treatment still planned for this spring. Those projects are on hold, with the earliest window after the suspension being fall burning.


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